Appreciating Abstract Art

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I have received overwhelming support, encouragement, and interest in my work since I launched my art career. Every now and then, I’ll come across someone who doesn’t want to flat out tell me they don’t like my work, but they’ll pose the question, “what do you think about people who don’t think abstract art is really art?”

 

I guess my response in return would be,

“what do you think art is?”

Here’s what I think art is: I think that when God created man and woman in His image, He made them to be creators. The fact that we have imaginations and the ability to create is one way in which we are made in the image of God. We are His artwork, and He lets us be artists, whether that is through painting, music, serving others, or drafting complex spreadsheets, it is all creation.

I think that anything that points to the gory of God and anything that is uplifting to hope and faith in Christ is art. Anything that makes you thankful to be alive and anything that helps you enjoy God’s creation is art. I also believe that our purpose in life is to strive to that end.

Here is why abstract art is art, in my opinion. Realism is indubitably art, because it is a direct reflection of people, landscapes, or objects. I think of abstract art as a more base level of God’s creation. I cannot imagine a world without color, light, balance, and shape. I cannot really imagine nothingness, because even when I picture that, there is the color black in my mind, which is the absence of light, but still a color.

Abstract art for me is a celebration of God’s gift of color, light, and form. When painting I’m so thankful for color and for the ability to mix and create colors. I’m thankful that I am able to lay gold leaf into my paintings and see how the light reflects off of those golden pieces of light.

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”https://christineolmstead.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_5421.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” animation=”top” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” /][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”This dying leaf looks like beautiful abstract art as the light cream, brown and gold tones creep up on the brown leaf.” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#000000″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#000000″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#000000″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

A person who only thinks realism is art is like someone appreciating the human body, but not realizing or appreciating the individual cells, muscles, and bones necessary to make that body functioning. Color, light, form, and canvas balance are the bones, the veins, and the muscles of realism. Realistic paintings rely on color, form, shape and light to be realistic. Realism is the body. Abstraction is the individual parts.

In Genesis 1:3, just after God created the heavens and the earth, He created the light and separated light from darkness. Light is made of wavelengths of color. If God took the time to make those elements individually I think that it is okay for us to take the time to appreciate those elements of light, color, and form individually. He could have made the world and all its elements and inhabitants in one fell swoop, but he chose not to.

I propose, that we can appreciate both realism, and abstraction. Both the whole, and the part are glorifying to God because he made not only a realistic world, but he also made the elements of color, He causes the light to shine, and He is the master of form. Don’t be fooled, even God dabbles in abstraction in nature, like in the dying leaf, or in the swirling sea.

 

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Be a creator and enjoy creation.

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Comments

  1. Love this. It’s frustrated me in the past when people joke about modern art and abstract art not being “real art” and this post really helps me think through my response to those people, and helps elevate my thinking beyond a mere negative gut reaction to such comments.

    Thanks. 🙂

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